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FICLET: Nocturnal Animals



I was obsessed with the raccoon that was stuck on the building. This micro story is in celebration of the little raccoon's rescue.



Title: Nocturnal Animals
Characters: Neanderthal/Wench



The house was shrouded in darkness except for the glow of the screen as Wench stared at the live feed. For hours she had been transfixed by the fate of a small mammal. Earlier that day, a news article had captured the Wench’s attention along with the attention of thousands of others. The article reported the hours that a raccoon had been sitting on the ledge of a tall building. No one knew why the bandit-eyed animal had scaled the walls, but people everywhere were concerned for its safety. The concern was so great that television stations had set up cameras and were reporting live.


Wench tore her eyes away from the screen when the clock struck midnight. She bit her lip as she thought. She knew she needed to get some rest; she’d been sick and on antibiotics. But as the reporter started excitedly pointing to the building, Wench lost all thought of going to bed. She assured herself it wasn’t her obsessive nature keeping her glued to the reports. Just concern for the life of another.


Her heart pounded as she continued to watch the raccoon. Reading the comments and questions that floated up on her iPad, she answered the questions as if they could hear her. Suddenly, a snarl echoed through the living room. She was leaning closer to the screen when a large paw landed on her shoulder.


“Oh my god! You almost gave me a heart attack!” She clutched at her chest as her heart recovered from fright.


She looked up as the Neanderthal grunted at her.


“Yes, I know what time it is, It’s a few minutes past midnight,” Wench answered her Neanderthal’s question.


At the caveman’s snort, Wench looked at the clock. Two in the morning! How did that happen? She swallowed hard and mustered up all the confidence that she could, Wench said dismissively, “Well, the last time I looked it was midnight. It’s a good thing I don’t have a bedtime.”


The Neanderthal didn’t return her small, little laugh. He just raised one eyebrow and growled at her.


“Grumpy? I won’t be grumpy tomorrow!” Wench was indignant that he’d even suggest that lack of sleep would make her grumpy the next day. There was a time Neanderthal was the reason for her staying up into the wee hours of the morning. She opened her mouth to tell him so, but the look in his eyes kept her quiet.


A deep threatening growl came from the Neanderthal and the Wench’s tummy started to tingle.


“Yes, you are right. Rules can be changed to include bedtime. But can we put that on hold?” When Neanderthal tilted his head in question, Wench hurried to explain. “See there’s a raccoon on a building. He’s up 23 floors. The fire department says it’s too dangerous to try and rescue him. The windows of the building don’t open. So, animal control put some cat food in some live traps on the roof.”


Wench knew she was getting through to her hard-headed Neanderthal when his eyes softened in caring concern. “Everyone watching is rooting for the raccoon to live. It’s like with all that is bad and wrong in our world, we have this one thing that is bringing us together. Men and women. It’s like religion and race don’t matter. Just the life of one little raccoon.”


Her heart swelled with love as he bent over her and kissed her on the top of her head. Then she squealed when he lifted her off of the chair and landed a half a dozen hard swats. He sat her back down, kissed her head again, and walked back to the bedroom.


Wench smiled softly to herself. Her Neanderthal had a hard hand, but a very gentle heart. She leaned back in the chair to watch the news. Wench wiggled as the slight warmth on her bottom. A yawn almost cracked her jaw. While the raccoon was a nocturnal animal, she knew she needed her sleep. With a sigh, the Wench sent a slight prayer that the raccoon would safely climb down. She closed the news app and laid the tablet on the side table. She wanted to be in bed, wrapped in the arms of her caveman.


*************

The scent of coffee woke Wench from a deep slumber. She smiled at the thoughtfulness of her Neanderthal. He knew she’d had a rough night and in his sweet way, he was waking her as gently as possible. Suddenly at the reminder of her late night, Wench sat up and reached for her phone. Quickly she opened the news app. Happiness filled her heart as she read the headline: “Raccoon Is Rescued Atop Building”.


End

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